Business Headlines

Contracts Case Summaries

[09/26] Sargon Enterprises, Inc. v. Browne George Ross LLP
Reversing in part the trial court's confirmation of an arbitrator determination that a legal malpractice claim had been barred by an earlier release of claims entered into by the parties and that the filing of a malpractice action in superior court resulted in a breach of contract because the arbitrator erred in finding that an arbitration agreement included a promise to forego litigation because the plaintiff had a statutory right under the California Arbitration Act to seek a preliminary determination of arbitrability from a court.

[09/25] Mission Beverage Company v. Pabst Brewing Company, LLC
Affirming the trial court's denial of a beer brewer's motion to strike a complaint filed by a distributor who alleged breach of contract in the termination of their distribution agreement because the cancellation of a contract that is expected to be followed by negotiation and possibly arbitration doesn't qualify as protected activity under the anti-strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP) statute and the ousted distributor's suit did not lack minimal merit on account of its termination and compensation clauses.

[09/25] Mission Beverage Company v. Pabst Brewing Company, LLC
Affirming the trial court's denial of a beer brewer's motion to strike a complaint filed by a distributor who alleged breach of contract in the termination of their distribution agreement because the cancellation of a contract that is expected to be followed by negotiation and possibly arbitration doesn't qualify as protected activity under the anti-strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP) statute and the ousted distributor's suit did not lack minimal merit on account of its termination and compensation clauses.

[09/15] Dowling v. Pension Plan for Salaried Employees of Union Pacific Corporation and Affiliates
Affirming the decision of a retirement plan administrator, affirmed by the district court, interpreting an ambiguous retirement plan who provided the plaintiff with a lower monthly retirement payment than was expected because the ambiguousness of the document granted the administrator the discretion to interpret its terms and the existence of a conflict of interest did not result in a heightened standard of review.

[09/15] Sharp Image Gaming Inc v. Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians
Reversing a decision for the plaintiff after trial in a breach of contract action relating to a deal to develop a casino on tribal lands because the contractual claims were preempted by the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act and the trial court lacked subject matter jurisdiction.

[09/14] In Re: J.T. Thorpe
Vacating and remanding the district court's decision to enforce a settlement agreement between a Trust whose agents sought to have an attorney debarred and the attorney when, after executing the settlement agreement, the lawyer decided that it was unlawful and refused to comply with its terms because contractual clauses involving restraints on trade are void pursuant to California Business and Professions Code.

[09/14] In Re: CWS Enterprises
Affirming the judgment of the state court confirming the arbitration award of contingency fees in the case of a party who sought to avoid the judgment by creating spinoff companies and entering into bankruptcy proceedings where the bankruptcy court's use of the lodestar method to determine the reasonableness of the attorney fees claimed because the contract that provided for these fees was not unreasonable or unconscionable.

[09/12] Campidoglio LLC v. Wells Fargo and Company
In a case alleging the miscalculation of interest on loans the court determined that the Home Owners' Loan Act (HOLA) does not preempt common law breach of contract claims, affirmed that summary judgment for the defendant loan provider was appropriate as it related to the use of unapproved indexes because the lenders gave notice to their primary regulators of the intent to change indexes and there was no objection, affirmed the denial of the borrower's motion for discovery sanctions because there was no prejudice resulting from the ruling, and vacated the denial of attorneys' fees pursuant to the HOLA ruling.

[09/11] Zuber v. Boscov's
Reversing and remanding the district court's decision that a Compromise and Release Agreement during the settlement of workers' compensation claims resulted in a waiver of the right to assert claims under the Family and Medical Leave Act and Pennsylvania common law because the plain meaning of the language used in the release suggested that it was not intended to cover such claims.

[08/30] City of Anaheim v. Cohen
Reversing the trial court's denial of a writ petition and declaratory and injunctive relief in the case of a city project because the trial court's dismantling of agreements entered into by an earlier administration and agency unconstitutionally impaired a private developer's contractual rights.

[08/29] BRE DDR BR Whittwood CA LLC v. Farmers and Merchants Bank of Long Beach
Reversing a trial court summary judgement for the landlord in an action to recover rents from a lender that had received the interest in property held by a tenant in foreclosure that argued it should only pay the amount owed for the period in which they were in possession and the court agreed that the purchase of the leasehold in the case, identified in a deed of trust by reference to a lease, did not constitute an express agreement to assume the obligations of the lease.

[08/23] Los Angeles Lakers Inc. v. Federal Insurance Company
Affirming the district court dismissal of an action brought under diversity jurisdiction by the LA Lakers against an insurer when it denied coverage and declined to defend them in a lawsuit alleging violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act because the court agreed that the lawsuit was an invasion of privacy suit that was specifically excluded from coverage.

[08/22] Cal Sierra Development, Inc. v. George Reed, Inc.
Affirming that an arbitration award serves as a res judicata bar to subsequent lawsuits between the parties in a case involving contracts and licensing disputes between mining companies digging for gold.

[08/22] Alvarado Hospital, LLC v. Cochran
Affirming the district court's order transferring a complaint relating to the breach of an alleged settlement agreement to the US Court of Federal Claims, but reversing the transfer of claims seeking declaratory, injunctive, and mandamus relief to that court because it lacks jurisdiction over such claims.

[08/17] Meyer v. Uber Technologies, Inc.
Vacating and remanding a lawsuit in which an Uber user complained that the application allows third party drivers to illegally fix prices where Uber asserted their right to compel arbitration on the basis of their user agreement because the district court's determination that the notice was not conspicuous and unambiguous because the agreement was valid as a matter of law.

[08/17] Moon v. Breathless Inc.
Reversing and remanding a case involving a contract between a dancer and a men's club where the District Court held that an arbitration clause in a signed contract covered statutory claims because under New Jersey law an arbitration clause must establish that the employee agrees to arbitrate all statutory claims, reference the claims waived, and explain the difference between arbitration and litigation, and the agreement at issue did not meet all requirements.

[08/15] In Re Howmedica Osteonics Corp.
Issuing a writ of mandamus and directing the District Court to transfer the claims of two corporate defendants who were not parties to an agreement with a forum selection clause in the case of a multi-party lawsuit where all defendants sought transfer to a single district but some were parties to agreements that designated a forum, while others were not.

[08/10] Airport Road Associates, LTD v. US
Reversing and remanding a case involving a group of limited partnerships seeking to exit a federal housing program through loan prepayment whose claims against the US were dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction because the statute of limitations did not begin to run when a letter between the parties was determined to be a repudiation rather than a breach.

[08/08] Caribbean Seaside Heights Properties, Inc. v. Erikon LLC
Affirming the District Court's grant of summary judgment to the defense in a breach of contract case between a company and its former investment partner because a release in the defendant's favor had been previously executed that barred the suit.

[08/07] Russell City Energy Company, LLC v. City of Hayward
Reversing an order sustaining a city's demurrer without leave to amend and dismissing a complaint to the extent that the order denied the plaintiff leave to amend in an action relating to an agreement between an energy company and a city whose terms may have violated the California Constitution because a quasi-contractual restitution claim would be permitted even if the Payments Clause at issue is unconstitutional.

[08/04] Ayala v. Dawson
Affirming the decision that an action for fraud and other claims relating to allegations that the plaintiff was not a tenant but rather an equitable title holder of a property they occupied pursuant to an oral agreement with the property owner that had previously been the subject of an unlawful detainer action was collaterally estopped from re-litigating the claims in the new case.

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